Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in an American-led operation in Pakistan, US President Barack Obama has announced.
In the latest pictures from Abbotabad, a town just 60 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad, flames are seen rising from a building that was the apparent target of the raid.
It is thought Bin Laden had been living in a $1m villa in Abbotabad.
He was reportedly asked to surrender by US forces before he was shot.
Pakistani television stations have broadcast what they say is a confirmed photograph of the bloodied face of the world's most wanted man after he was killed.
In the last few minutes, David Cameron has been speaking from Downing Street, saying the news would be welcomed across the country.
"It is, I believe, a massive step forward," he said.
Earlier, President Obama confirmed in a news conference: "I can report to the American people and to the world, that the US has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden."
The US president said he was briefed about a possible lead to the whereabouts of the the world's most wanted man and mastermind of the September 11 attacks in August and last week appproved an operation "to bring Bin Laden to justice".
"A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties," President Obama said.
The body of Bin Laden - who fled the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 - was recovered by US officials from the compound in Abbottabad, northwest of Pakistan, where he had been hiding.
President Obama said: "After a firefight they killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body."
A US official told reporters that the corpse was being handled in accordance with Islamic customs.
Sky News' chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay said: "I am told that this happened in an attack on a house at 1.30 in the morning Pakistan time. The house has been cordoned off."
It was not clear how long Bin Laden had been staying at the compound.
Reuters quoted a US official as saying a son of Bin Laden's and two other adults were also killed in the raid.
US citizens welcomed the news with hundreds of people gathering outside the White House and in New York's Times Square.
Sky's US correspondent Robert Nisbet said: "We seem to be building a picture that this was very well thought through. Obviously the president was informed every step of the way.
"It appears to have happened a few days ago with final confirmation coming today."
President Obama spoke to former president George W Bush and former President Bill Clinton before announcing Bin Laden's death.
President Bush said it was a "momentous achievement".
"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said in a statement.
President Obama also warned that "al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks" against the US.
"The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda. His death does not mark the end of our effort," he said.
The US state department issued a worldwide travel alert to all US citizens warning of an "enhanced potential" for US citizens to be targeted.
from online source